I am one of those seeing the benefit in updating the site's look, and I am not in a web designing job nor trying to sell something, so I too wonder why you get that feeling.
Some think the current look is minimalist and great as it is, perhaps even reflective of the LWN brand, and I appreciate this. Conversely, it should be possible to see the point of view that it is endearingly klunky (quoting myself). I do not know how it affects people if they share this view, but it would do no harm to at least consider such issues.
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